My five year-old Eureka finally died, and good riddance. What a piece of crap. Nothing fit right, the hose kept slipping off surreptitiously so I was vacuuming with no suction, the power switch failed so I had to track one down on the internet and replace it, and if the brush got tangled in loose yarn from the carpet it was a one-hour job to remove, unravel, and reassemble. It was one of the experiences which inspired my wife and me to write our family slogan: "Never buy anything with moving parts at Costco." Mrs. Fraggle has a central vacuum with about 600 horsepower in our house back in California (and a nice lady who comes around once a week and operates it) but she recommended a Dyson-ball for my basement studio here in Maryland. It's actually not named after the Dyson sphere--a hypothetical artifact that surrounds a star capturing all its energy and which the SETI program should perhaps be scanning for as the ultimate evidence of an advanced power-sucking civilization--but after James Dyson, the guy who invented it. But I'm sure he was real happy to take advantage of the coincidence. It is wonderful! You know how some days you look at your floor and say, "I really ought to vacuum today but I'm not up to it?" This thing weighs about twenty pounds (9kg), has a zero turning radius because it really is a ball, and will suck the rust off an abandoned Studebaker. The ball is certainly a nice gimmick: one giant caster that rolls any way you point it with no turning resistance. But the real heart of this thing is the vacuum unit itself. Dyson discovered that vacuum cleaners lose half their power or more the first time you use them, because the fibers of the bag almost instantly clog up with dust, and the only way to fix that is to install a new bag every twenty minutes. He invented a chamber that shapes the air into a cyclone, directing the dust to the sides of the chamber where it falls neatly into a container--the technology employed on a much larger scale by sawmills. This made it unnecessary to use a bag; it has a transparent plastic chamber instead, so you can see how close it is to full. His design first went into commercial production in Japan in 1986, where an amazed public considered it a status symbol and were willing to pay something like $3,000 for it. (I got lost in the yen-sterling-dollar conversion factors.) The new Dysons have seven cyclone funnels. They were originally manufactured in England (Dyson is British) but are now made in Malaysia. The reduction in labor costs allowed the company to put more money into research and development, so they now employ more people in England than they did when they were a manufacturer. I love this thing! Everything about it is perfect: the handle that telescopes down for compact storage, the effortless turning, the attachments that go on and off easily and securely, the simplicity of emptying the container, the RPM sensor that stops the brush from spinning when a captured bit of rug yarn slows it down so even though my carpet is ancient I've never yet had to turn it upside-down to untangle it. I got the Dyson "Animal" DC24. It's a small model but it's all I need for this tiny place, and I do have animals. It's actually more expensive than the larger model--whether because miniaturization is costly or because a lot of highly-paid professionals live in small lodgings and they can afford it. It lists for $550 at Target. But I went to the Target website and it was a hundred bucks cheaper online. You can get the large version for about $350. When my wife first left home she had a British roommate for several years, and apparently the Brits call all vacuum cleaners "Hoovers," just as in some countries the word for "refrigerator" is "Frigidaire." We always talk about "hoovering" the house. Now we're going to have to call it "dysoning."